It’s a new year and many of us are taking a fresh look at our lives and thinking about the musical avenues we’ll explore in 2017. Will you dive deep into some new and unfamiliar genres? Push your music career forwards? Hone a skill like improvisation? Or really knuckle down on something you’ve been skipping, like the music theory side of listening skills?

Whatever you have in mind for the new musical year, this week’s new resources should help inspire you to get 2017 off to a rockin’ start. Speaking of which…

It’s only Rock and Roll (but…)

open-your-ears-to-rockEver since the 1950s when Rock’n’Roll took the world by storm, rock has been a driving force in music around the world. Have you ever wondered how rock got started, and what exactly characterises a song as “rock”? Wonder no more! Open your ears to rock music.

Teach Rock has this fantastic in-depth study of the birth and history of rock music, divided into handy chapters. For every scholar of rock music history, this is a good place to start.

Want to know what your favorite rock musician was up to back in the day? Check out this interactive Rock and Roll Roadmap. From Aerosmith to ZZ Top, this artist compilation will take you directly to their history.

Rock music is a descendent of rock‘n’roll. At what point, exactly, did “rock’n’roll” become “rock”?

NPR discusses this and its implications in this interesting article.

Birth of the Blues

blues-music-historyOne of the main musical roots of rock was blues music, and it’s a genre that’s still going strong today. Discover where it originated and how it developed in an Introduction to Blues Music.

For more on the history and origins of the Blues, have a look at International Blues Music Day’s article. It discusses everything from the origins of blues to the 100 greatest blues songs.

One prominent characteristic of the blues is the famous “12-bar blues” sequence. Pianist Duane Shinn discusses the music theory behind the twelve-bar blues:

Rock isn’t the only genre influenced by blues… Joy Tunes takes a look at how the blues partly influenced the development of the modern pop music genre.

Improve Your Improv

improve-your-improv-listen-to-the-rhythm-section-with-stefan-hallWe’ve been publishing an in-depth interview with a fascinating musician, Dr. Stefan Hall. In the latest instalment he shares helpful insights into how you can improvise better by listening to the rhythm section.

Dr. Hall suggests listening to the rhythm section – the bass, drums, guitar and/or piano – to help you connect to the structure of jazz. What is the function of the rhythm section and why is it so important? Study Bass explains in this lesson.

As discussed in the interview, Dr. Hall learned to play jazz guitar mostly by active listening. In this podcast, Learn Jazz Standards explains why active listening is the main event in learning to play jazz.

Throughout this interview series, Dr. Hall has emphasized the importance of listening to jazz music to learn how to improvise. Free Jazz Lessons explains why you should put your fakebook away and turn up the music.

The Business of Music

3-simple-ways-musicians-can-nurture-their-inner-businessperson-with-jennifer-rosenfeldMusicians often shy away from the world of business, preferring to focus on the artistic side of things. But if you want to reach a wide audience or make a living with your music, you will have to somehow get in touch with your business side. In a guest post on the Musical U blog, iCadenza share three simple ways you can nurture your own inner businessperson.

Musicians who do delve into the business side often do so in novel and creative ways, making them more akin to an entrepreneur than a traditional 9-5 salesman. In this blogpost, Music Industry How To tells you how to think like an entrepreneur.

Are you interested in some marketing more tips for your music career? White collar marketer-turned-musician Dave Ruch has these twelve marketing tips for musicians and performing artists.

The business of music is not just about marketing though. To have your music career reach its full potential, you need to treat it like a business. Music Connection explains how to be the CEO – and leader – of your music career.

Intervals Spelled Speedily

spell-intervals-fast-tips-and-tricksIt’s normal to focus on the listening side of learning intervals  but don’t forget the other essential aspect: if you want to actually use intervals to play by ear or improvise, you need to spell them! Here are some helpful tips and tricks to speed up your interval spelling.

To the uninitiated, learning how to spell intervals can seem a bit daunting. Never fear, The Secret Guitar Teacher helps to make the subject easier to understand for all musicians.

Unless you have a lot of time for thinking, it helps to memorize only a tiny fraction of the information when learning to spell intervals. Czech linguist, mathematician, and artist Jakub Marian shares his own approach to accelerating the interval spelling process.

Ready to go a step beyond interval spellings? Our friends Bob and Paul over at Shed the Music spell out how to spell triads from intervals in this great video tutorial.

So there you have it, a grab-bag of fun and interesting fresh new resources to get your year off to a great start. Here’s to a marvellously musical 2017!